Thematic concerns in the emergent Zimbabwean short film genre

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The genre of short film has largely arisen as an alternative during the Zimbabwe political and economic crisis post 2000 because film-makers could not afford longer projects. It also provides a site and space for training new film-makers. The short films are making thematic innovations departing from the traditional didactic approaches usual in older Zimbabwean films that carried messages on, for example, HIV and AIDS, teenage pregnancy and women's rights in line with donor prescriptions. Although the short films remain donor-sponsored, they are exciting thematically and cinematographically because they are experimental, tackling issues on oratures, animation, the Zimbabwean personality and cosmopolitanism. However, these productions are striking in their avoidance of political subjects for material produced during an obvious crisis period. This article traces the thematic subjects and critically speculates on the absence of political material.

Keywords: Zimbabwean short films; aesthetics; broadcasting policy; cinematography; emergent thematic concerns; funding

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Midlands State University and University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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